CSOs de­mand pros­e­cu­tion of NDDC graft cul­prits

Weekly Trust - - News - Chidimma C. Okeke

Agroup of Civil So­ci­ety Or­gan­i­sa­tions (CSOs) and rights ac­tivists within the Niger Delta has ex­pressed con­cern on re­cent rev­e­la­tions on the scale of cor­rup­tion and mis­man­age­ment in the Niger Delta De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion (NDDC), say­ing the al­le­ga­tions should be in­ves­ti­gated and the cul­prits duly pros­e­cuted.

This is even as they de­manded im­me­di­ate dis­so­lu­tion of the cur­rent board of the NDDC and a pub­li­ca­tion of the list of NGOs that ben­e­fited from cash grants from the com­mis­sion.

This was con­tained in a state­ment signed by 30 CSOs among which are Health of Mother Earth, Foun­da­tion, Women De­vel­op­ment Re­source Cen­tre, Com­mu­nity Em­pow­er­ment and De­vel­op­ment Ini­tia­tive, Net­work on Good Gov­er­nance and oth­ers.

“We are sad­dened by the fact that rather than de­velop the re­gion, the huge al­lo­ca­tions to the NDDC has rather be­queathed a legacy of aban­don­ment, ne­glect and un­der­de­vel­op­ment,” the group said.

While not­ing that de­spite the huge yearly al­lo­ca­tions to the com­mis­sion in the past 20 years, they ob­served that poor man­age­ment and cor­rup­tion have made it im­pos­si­ble for the agency to ex­ert any rea­son­able mea­sure of pos­i­tive im­pact on the re­gion.

They said they had em­barked on project mon­i­tor­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and writ­ten count­less re­ports de­tail­ing the malfea­sance in the com­mis­sion.

“The gov­ern­ment has con­sis­tently re­fused to take ac­tion. All ef­forts to in­still ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency in the NDDC have thus far lacked the sup­port of suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments,” the state­ment said.

To ad­dress the de­cay and re­po­si­tion the com­mis­sion to live up to its ex­pec­ta­tions, the CSOs de­manded that the au­dit process must be con­ducted by glob­ally rec­og­nized au­dit firms with ex­pe­ri­ence in sim­i­lar ex­er­cises, who must be se­lected through an open, free and com­pet­i­tive bid­ding process.

They called for im­me­di­ate freeze on with­drawals from the com­mis­sion’s ac­count, say­ing, “Hence­forth, the NDDC must em­bark on projects de­ter­mined by the com­mu­ni­ties to avoid the per­sis­tent frit­ter­ing of re­sources through in­sa­tiable pri­vate pock­ets.”

Bene­dict Uwalaka

Bank cus­tomers on queue to trans­ac­tion at the ATM at Iyana-Ipaja in La­gos yes­ter­day.

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